Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elle Rueger, founder of SOLEDIER SOCKS, located in Greensboro, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a sock company - and every time we sell a pair, we donate a pair to our troops and veterans! Socks are one of the most requested items in care packages, and it’s no wonder why. Having a good quality pair can make a world of difference while on a mission. We are also proud to state that all of our socks are 100% made in the USA - right down to the packaging!
Tell us about yourself
The concept of SOLEDIER SOCKS began in 2010 after our friend Tommy came home from his tour in Afghanistan. We sent him several care packages filled with toiletries, protein bars, and, of course, socks! After hearing of the (almost) immediate impact a good quality pair of socks had on his feet, I knew I had to do something! What started out as a simple idea, fulfilling a basic need, has really blossomed into something pretty amazing. After getting to know more about the military community and some of the challenges they face (at home and abroad), we decided to launch our Stand For A Cause line. Essentially, we team up with various nonprofits that benefit the military and veteran communities. We create a sock just for them, and a percentage of sales goes back to their organization (in addition to the pair of socks donated). It helps raise awareness and creates a monetary giveback towards their causes. Knowing we are making an impact is the driving force behind everything we do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I’d have to say making it on The Today Show! It’s an indescribable feeling - having our vision and mission validated on a national stage. It was a very humbling yet invigorating experience!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I believe this is one of those questions that evolves based on where you are in the growth of your business. (Add in a pandemic, and you have a wild ride!) I’d say one of the most challenging things - especially when just starting out - is wearing all of the hats. You are the CEO, marketing team, customer service representative, accountant, etc. Most recently, for us, like so many others, the supply chain has been a major challenge. Fortunately, our socks are all made here in the U.S. - but some of our yarns are imported, which has caused us to pivot. It’s been a great lesson in rolling with the punches and brushing up on problem-solving skills - so it’s not all bad!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take that leap! You don’t want to always wonder “what if?” - or worse yet, watch from the sidelines as someone else becomes wildly successful with your idea.
- Be a servant-leader.
- Consistency is key. Keep showing up and keep grinding.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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